Easy Cheesy Cheat’s Cottage Pie

If any food were going to run up to you and give you a big bear hug, it would be cottage pie. It’s just so friendly, so comforting, so bloody delicious. This pan of goodness will feed a group of 6 (or 4 very hungry boys), costs a grand total of £8 (at Waitrose) and thanks to my little cheat, is easy as 1, 2, 3.

1: The only real work involved here is whipping up a batch of basic bolognese.

I’m sure you know how to do this already but just incase, here’s my recipe:

400g (14oz) good quality, lean beef mince

400g (14oz) chopped tomatos

100g (3.5oz) tomato puree

1 onion, chopped

1 glass red wine

1tsp honey

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

In a large saucepan, fry your onions on a medium heat until softened. Throw your mince in and fry until it’s a light brown colour. Keep moving it around to make sure it’s evenly cooked.

Pour in your glass of wine (remember when cooking a good rule of thumb is “one for me, one for the pot” so pour yourself one too.)

Once that’s simmered down, add your chopped tomatoes and puree. Stir. Add your honey and a big pinch of salt and pepper.

Turn down to a low heat, cover and leave to bubble away for about 30mins. Stir it occasionally. Take the lid off and cook for another 15-20mins.

2: Now, when you’re ready you can make your cheats topping.

The one thing I can never be bothered to make is mash.

All that washing, peeling, boiling, mashing… pfft. No thanks.

I’m not one for ready meals but store bought mashed potato is a godsend. I’m not talking that powdered stuff from the 80s, I mean this:

Now, you’re more than welcome to make your own mash.

But if you have better things to do, you’ll want:

2 packets readymade mash

150g (5oz) strong cheddar cheese, finely grated.

Splash of milk or cream

Salt & pepper

Add your mash to a saucepan on a medium heat. Moosh it around until it warms up. Add your milk/cream and stir it all together. Add three quarters of your cheese, big pinch of salt, lots of pepper and stir.

You’re done!

Pop it to one side and put some peas on to boil. Cook them for half the usual time and drain.

3: Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).

Layer your mince into a baking tray. Sprinkle your peas on top. Smooth your mash over the whole thing and cover with the left over cheese.

Pop it in the oven for about 20mins.


Wasn’t that easy?

Guaranteed to gently sooth all your problems away and warm even the coldest of winter hearts.

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